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Pitino extended...Attendance resurgence...Fired coaches

April 7, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A tournament appearance plus a win was the sweet spot for Minnesota coach Richard Pitino. He’s agreed to a two-year contract extension, coming off his first NCAA Tournament win in six seasons with the Gophers. The university announced the deal, subject to approval by the board of regents, on Sunday. Pitino will now be under contract until 2024. It’s a common practice for colleges to have at least five years remaining on a deal to help sell stability to recruits.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Fans have flocked to the women’s NCAA Tournament, which had its highest attendance in over 15 years. Nearly 275,000 people attended the NCAAs which ranked eighth all-time, including an expected crowd of over 20,000 for the title game between Baylor and Notre Dame on Sunday night. The regionals provided a strong boost. Portland, Oregon, a first-time site, averaged over 11,400 fans and will host again next year. Chicago and Albany also had strong attendance.

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Sabres fired coach Phil Housley on Sunday following two underperforming seasons and after the team extended its franchise-worst playoff drought to an eighth consecutive year. The team made the move a day after the Sabres closed their season with a 7-1 win at Detroit. The 55-year-old Housley is a Hall of Fame defenseman who spent his first eight NHL seasons playing in Buffalo. Meantime, Bob Boughner has become the latest coach to pay for Florida’s almost-annual inability to reach the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Panthers fired Boughner on Sunday, ending his two-year tenure.

BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) — The race hadn’t even started and Kevin Harvick was penalized at Bristol Motor Speedway because his car failed inspection three times. His engineer was ejected from the event and Harvick lost his 13th-place starting position. He must start at the back of the field at the .533-mile bullring and immediately serve a pass-thru penalty on pit road. It will be nearly impossible for Harvick not to be lapped during the sequence.

ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Braves have placed catcher Brian McCann on the 10-day injured list with a right hamstring strain. Alex Jackson was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett and is making his major league debut by starting in Sunday’s game against the Miami Marlins. McCann strained his hamstring while running the bases in the fourth inning of Saturday night’s 4-2 loss to Miami.